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Light Soy Sauce Substitute

Light soy sauce is a reddish-brown, thin liquid made from fermented soybean and wheat. It has a salty taste and has a rich soy aroma. Light soy sauce can also be gotten from soy sauce. When we talk about soy sauce in cooking, we refer to light, dark and normal soy sauce.

 Light Soy sauce

Light soy sauce can be directly added to food and can be used as a salt flavor in cooking. It is mostly eaten with sushi, noodles, rice or can be mixed with grounded flavors to make dippings. It was first used in china before it was used by other countries.

Light soy sauce contains 7.2 % of sodium and soy sauce contains 7% of sodium. In comparing light soy sauce to dark soy sauce, light soy sauce is saltier, thinner, and more refreshing than dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce is used for stir-fries and dipping.

Dark soy sauce on the other hand is thicker, sweeter, and full-bodied compared to light soy sauce and it adds color to dishes. All in all, both the light soy sauce and dark soy sauce are made from or gotten from normal or regular soy sauce.

Recipes That Use Light Soy Sauce

  1. Pan-fried egg tofu with chopped cilantro
  2. One-pot chicken broccoli stir fry with an aromatic sauce
  3. Spicy garlic cucumber salad
  4. Shiitake mushroom meat sauce
  5. Fried rice with eggs and tofu

Substitute for Light Soy Sauce

Although light soy sauce has many uses, it may not be liked because of its salty nature. There are various other reasons why we may need a substitute. Below are five excellent light soy sauce substitutes;

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

This is a brown liquid with a dairy, tangy flavor. If you are to use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for light soy sauce, it’s advisable to start with a quarter (1/4) as much as the recipe needs and then you can add more to taste. If you are substituting light soy sauce with Worcestershire sauce because of its saltiness, you should use less Worcestershire sauce and add more salt. Do not substitute 1 spoon of light soy sauce with 1 spoon of  Worcestershire sauce because  Worcestershire sauce is mostly used to spice up recipes and light soy sauce is much milder than Worcestershire sauce.

Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce can also be called fish sauce because it’s not a vegetarian sauce. In place of light soy sauce, you can substitute with oyster sauce and you will get a Similar Flavour to Light Soy Sauce.

Oyster sauce, in particular, is a good substitute for light soy sauce in most cases, this is because many oyster sauce producers use soy sauce in their oyster sauces. Oyster sauces taste like a combination of soy sauce and barbecue sauce. It is both salty and sweet.

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Although teriyaki sauce has a sweet taste and light soy sauce has a salty flavor, it is still a good substitute for light soy sauce,  however, your recipe will have an unintended taste. Teriyaki sauce contains soy sauce, the soy sauce constitutes the base of the Teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce is light but has thick contents which make the sauce unique.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

Light soy sauce is much thinner and saltier than hoisin sauce. Most people substitute half-light soy sauce for hoisin sauce i.e. in a recipe that needs 1-2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, you can substitute 3-4 tablespoons hoisin sauce. You can add more hoisin sauce if needed after tasting.

Tamari Sauce

Tamari Sauce

Tamari sauce is the closest in flavor to light soy sauce. In fact, if your recipe needs 1 spoon of light soy sauce, you can replace it with 1 spoon of tamari sauce, i.e. light soy sauce can be replaced with tamari sauce in a 1:1 ratio.  Light soy sauce can taste a little saltier than tamari sauce, but it depends on the light soy sauce brand. If you are bothered because of the saltiness of light soy sauce,  you can start with ¾ the amount of light soy sauce. Tamari sauce is darker in color and richer in flavor than that of the Chinese light soy sauce. It has a balanced taste and is less salty than the light soy sauce. It can be used in or added to soups, sauces, stir-fries, and so on. It can be used to enhance the flavor of rice, noodles, sushi, dumplings, and so on. Its less salty taste and mildness make it a good dip for foods. It aids food digestion of fruits and vegetables gives other health benefits to the body. Out of all the other substitutes for light soy sauce, tamari sauce is the best substitute for light soy sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is light soy sauce the same as regular soy sauce?

No. Light soy sauce has 7.2% sodium and adds salt to a dish but does not give noodles a deep mahogany color nor does it add much “soy flavor”.Regular soy sauce has 7% sodium and is pretty much light but has a slightly more soy flavor. It won’t give noodles a different color but will change the taste of the noodles.

 Is light soy sauce the same as low sodium soy sauce?

No. Most brands use the term “light or lite” to refer to low sodium soy sauce while light soy sauce however refers to a thin and light-colored sauce and is not the same as low sodium soy sauce.

Can you dilute dark soy sauce to make light soy sauce?

Yes. If you have dark soy sauce and the recipe you want to make needs the use of light soy sauce, you can add a pinch of salt to the dark soy sauce for saltiness. You can after add a little bit of water to dilute the dark soy sauce.


For a number of reasons, a person may require a substitute for light soy sauce. This article has put these reasons into consideration and come up with five excellent light soy sauce substitutes. I do hope you found this helpful.